Capital Employed

Capital Employed is the total amount of investment made for running the business. It should not be confused with the term “capital.” Capital represents funds contributed by the owner (s) in a business, whereas the former has a wider meaning. It includes funds from both the owners and lenders, i.e., it covers both equity and debt.

There is no universal definition of the term capital employed. However, the general intuition is that it is the investment in a business for earning profits. In one sense, it reflects the total funds put to use (i.e., employed) for running the show. In other words, it is the value of assets that provide the business with its ability to earn revenues. More technically, it is the amount of capital we use to acquire profits or assets.

Computation of Capital Employed

Different accountants compute it differently. Capital employed can be computed using either the asset side or the liabilities side of the balance sheet. To get a better understanding, let us see the examples below :

Using the Asset Side of the Balance Sheet

In this method, we include:

  1. All the fixed assets are at their net values after accounting for depreciation. In an inflationary scenario, the replacement cost of these assets should be used as it reflects their current market value better.
  2. All investments made in the business.
  3. All current assets viz. sundry debtors, cash, bank, bills receivable, stock, etc.

Importantly, it considers business assets only. That means although we do take into account intangible assets like goodwill, patents, and trademarks, we do not take fictitious assets into account.

Finally, current liabilities are subtracted from the above.

For a quick calculation, refer to Capital Employed Calculator

Let us make our concepts concrete with an example. Consider the following balance sheet:

Particulars   Rs.
I. Equity and Liabilities  
  1. Shareholder’s Funds  
  a) Share Capital 400000
  b) Reserves and Surplus 100000
  2. Non-Current Liabilities  
  Long Term Borrowings 150000
  3. Current Liabilities 50000
  Total 700000
II. Assets  
  1. Non-Current Assets  
  a) Fixed Assets 400000
  b) Non-current Investments 100000
  2. Current Assets 200000
  Total 700000

Here, using the method described, the amount will be:

Capital Employed = Fixed Assets + Non-current Investments + Current Assets – Current Liabilities

= 400000+100000+200000-50000

= 650000

Using the Liabilities Side of the Balance Sheet

Alternatively, we can compute the capital employed by using the liabilities side of the balance sheet. We proceed as follows:

  1. Include share capital (equity + preference)
  2. Include reserves and surplus (e.g., general reserve, capital reserve, profit & loss account, etc.).
  3. Include long-term borrowings like debentures and other loans.

Going back to our example balance sheet and using this approach, the formula is:

Capital Employed = Share Capital + Reserves and Surplus + Long-Term Borrowings

= 400000+100000+150000

= 650000

As we have read above, in the absence of a universally accepted definition, we can also use a few other approaches to compute it, e.g.,

  1. Sum total of all assets fixed or current (gross)
  2. Sum total of fixed assets (net)
Capital Employed

Uses of Capital Employed

So, why is capital employed computed at all? Since it is a measure of resources (financial inputs) committed to a business, it assesses overall profitability (output). This is done by computing or Return on Investment (ROI).

Refer to Return on Capital Employed and Return on Investment for more understanding.

In this formulation of ROCE, sometimes the use of average capital employed is preferred over just capital employed. What is the average capital employed? It is an average of the amount under it at the beginning and at the end of the accounting period.

Another use of it is that it is a measure of the size of the business. Regulators use it to classify businesses into small, medium, or big.

Sanjay Borad

Sanjay Bulaki Borad

MBA-Finance, CMA, CS, Insolvency Professional, B'Com

Sanjay Borad, Founder of eFinanceManagement, is a Management Consultant with 7 years of MNC experience and 11 years in Consultancy. He caters to clients with turnovers from 200 Million to 12,000 Million, including listed entities, and has vast industry experience in over 20 sectors. Additionally, he serves as a visiting faculty for Finance and Costing in MBA Colleges and CA, CMA Coaching Classes.

1 thought on “Capital Employed”

  1. What assets are included in total assets
    is good will and preliminary expenses includes in total assets
    government securities are included or not


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